MU­SEUM

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

younger peo­ple who are more at­tuned to that than par­ents or grand­par­ents.”

Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools also are look­ing to make field trips to the new­est Smith­so­nian.

“We are ex­cited about the open­ing of the African-Amer­i­can mu­seum and the many ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties it af­fords our stu­dents,” Edie House-Foster, man­ager of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion for the Bal­ti­more City Board of School Com­mis­sion­ers, wrote in an email. “I am con­fi­dent that in the days ahead our school lead­ers will be ex­plor­ing the many ways the mu­seum can sup­port teach­ing and learn­ing in the class­room.”

In ad­di­tion, Clark said she hopes the mu­seum will “help shape the nar­ra­tive and cor­rect some of the mis­con­cep­tions.”

“I just re­ally hope that the mu­seum serves as a tool for teach­ers — es­pe­cially K-12 — who don’t know much them­selves about African Amer­i­can his­tory and cul­ture so they are, there­fore, re­ally un­able to teach it,” Clark said.

Mark Stout, the sec­ondary so­cial stud­ies co­or­di­na­tor of the Howard County Pub­lic School Sys­tem, said he wants teach­ers in the dis­trict to use the mu­seum’s on­line re­sources to help aid their class­room dis­cus­sions. Stout high­lighted the vast col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs de­pict­ing all dif­fer­ent as­pects of African Amer­i­can life.

“The mu­seum is de­signed very in­ter­est­ingly,” Stout said, “in that it shows not just he­roes and fa­mous peo­ple from our African Amer­i­can past, but also the lives of ev­ery­day peo­ple, which kind of re­flects what we try to do ... with stu­dents, and that is look at his­tory through the eyes of the peo­ple that lived it.”

Some of the mu­seum’s con­tent is not ap­pro­pri­ate for all au­di­ences.

A sign warns vis­i­tors that ex­hibits with a red bor­der around them may be too graphic for younger or more sen­si­tive view­ers, as the mu­seum does not shy away from dif­fi­cult top­ics.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that, a lot of times, we talk about the prob­lems fac­ing African-Amer­i­cans,” Ni­chols said, “but now we can look at, de­spite that peril, how African-Amer­i­cans have tri­umphed over the years and how they’ve over­come so many ob­sta­cles... And it’s mainly been due to the ef­forts of African-Amer­i­cans. No one saved them; they did it on their own.”

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